Local food on sale from vending machine

Group of people around local food vending machine
Scottish Rural Network

A mini farm shop vending machine is being trialled at Forth Valley College.

The vending machine at Forth Valley College's Stirling Campus offers a broad variety of local products from different producers including bread, vegetables and eggs.

The ten-day pilot scheme aims to connect more consumers with their local producers and, if successful, could see mini farm shops pop up across the city.

The ‘Get Ready for Local Food’ project, which is part of the Grow Forth Network and run by environmental charity Forth Environment Link, is on a mission to make local food more available and accessible to local people.

Nikki Kenn, Business Project Officer for ‘Get Ready for Local Food’ said:

"The machine works just as a normal vending machine, but unlike those you will be familiar with, this one will offer you products such as fresh hand baked bread, locally grown vegetables, free range eggs, local honey and more.

"We know that a lot of people love visiting farm shops to buy local produce but not everyone has easy access to them as they tend to be further afield. With the local food vending machine we are offering a mini farm shop in the city."

This pilot project would not be possible without the support of Forth Valley College and their commitment to promoting local food.  

Commenting on the scheme, Ype van der Schaaf, Chef Manager – Hospitality & Salon Services said:

"Forth Valley College (FVC) is delighted to be involved in the first trials of the local food vending machine. We recognise that we have an important part to play in supporting local food producers. Our procurement guidelines often make it harder to see local food reflected on our menus so by supporting the vending machine pilot we are getting local produce to market in a very unique way. 

"FVC has a strong commitment to fresh, local food and we see this as another way of connecting with our community and getting them thinking about the food they eat and where it comes from. Throughout 2016 and beyond we will continue to work with Forth Environmental Link's Grow Forth team and others to ensure that we tackle the barriers and misconceptions around local food."

Forth Environment Link has been working over the last year with local food businesses and communities to respond to the growing demand for fresh local produce. Similar vending machines are already being used in different locations in Scotland, principally by farming businesses to provide direct access to their fresh produce. The Stirling scheme is exciting because it takes the farm shop approach and offers a wide range of products. 

The producers participating in the scheme include J.Burnett and Sons, Camphill Blairdrummond, Tullibody Community Garden, Green Routes, Gartmore and honey from John Coyle, Kippen.

The Forth Valley College (Stirling Campus) and the vending is accessible to the public from 8am till 6pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Tuesday and Thursday till 9pm until Friday 18 December.

Anyone interested in finding out more about accessing local food can join in the conversation ‘Stirling Local Food Collective’ Facebook  group where information about sourcing local food and events is being shared.